When I was a kid, we used to go pick apples from the orchards in Missouri and bring them to my Grandma's in the country to make huge batches of applesauce. The cinnamon aroma would waft throughout the house, and we'd take so much applesauce home it would almost last the whole year. I loved using my Grandma's cone-shaped strainer that I would churn with the wooden pestle to strain out the delicious applesauce.
Whenever I get in the mood to make jam or bread or pies, I always think back to those days with my Grandma in the kitchen. It's where I first learned to cook. Her house was the kind of place where you picked blackberries from the backyard in the morning and went swimming in the lake down the road in the afternoon. So many fond memories.
Though I have yet to get my hands on a beautiful vintage applesauce press, I made due with a food processor to fulfill my craving for homemade applesauce. Here is my quick and easy applesauce recipe that is not too sugary and allows the natural sweetness of the apples to be the star of the show.
12 apples (whatever variety of red you enjoy, but must be firm and well-chosen)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsps fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Peel and core the apples before slicing them into 8 pieces. Place them in a large pot with a splash of water to keep them from sticking. Cook the apples over medium heat until tender. Next, remove apples from the heat and puree in food processor or blender in batches. Return the apple puree to the pan over low heat and add sugar, lemon juice and spices. Stir a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved. This recipe yields enough applesauce to fill four 16-oz mason jars. Because it is a small batch and I usually give two jars to friends, I don't go through the canning process and instead keep it refrigerated after it has cooled to room temperature. Enjoy!